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US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: Brad Crabtree Responds to Questions on Reducing Industrial Emissions

January 11, 2020 in Carbon Management Author: Gail Nosek

Brad Crabtree, Great Plains Institute’s (GPI’s) vice president of carbon management, was asked to testify before the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in his role as director of the multi-sector Carbon Capture Coalition, which is convened by GPI. He spoke at the hearing, “Solving the Climate Crisis: Reducing Industrial Emissions Through US Innovation,” last fall about the critical need for economywide deployment of carbon capture to reduce industrial carbon emissions at scale. Following the hearing, the committee had a number of follow up questions, which Brad answered and submitted for the record. Those written responses can be downloaded or read below. Continue reading »

Pilot Project Gets Solar Panels in Sync with Electric Vehicle Chargers

January 9, 2020 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Maggie Kristian

What if we could harness the energy produced by the sun and maximize its potential to power electric vehicles (EVs) with zero-carbon electricity? That’s exactly what GPI has been working on in a pilot project that studies how managed EV charging can pull varying levels of power from the solar panels on our rooftop based on how much solar is being produced at a given time. This ability to use “solar synchronization” could have big implications for reducing carbon emissions in both the electricity and transportation sectors, and presents potential benefits for consumers and businesses alike. Continue reading »

Top Ten Stories of 2019

December 30, 2019 in News & Press Author: Jennifer Christensen

The US capitol

Over the past year, we’ve shared stories, news, and publications about how we’re making progress toward our mission of transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We’re energized by the progress we’ve made together with you and our many collaborators, partners, and colleagues and look forward to the year ahead.

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Analysis: Rooftop Solar Can Provide Year-Round Electricity—Even in the Bold North

December 19, 2019 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Authors: Dane McFarlane, Elizabeth Abramson

Solar panels on the roof of a Minneapolis building in winter

When it comes to solar energy, a common question is how electricity generation will be affected by seasonal shifts or daily changes in the weather. These variations become especially important when households and businesses consider using rooftop solar panels to serve their electricity needs, such as for charging electric vehicles (EVs). By analyzing a full year of data collected from the solar array on the Great Plains Institute’s own rooftop, paired with the electric vehicle chargers at our building, we have gathered insights to answer to this question.  
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New Data Shows Minnesotans Going All-In on Electric Vehicles

December 18, 2019 in Transportation & Fuels Authors: Elizabeth Abramson, Jessi Wyatt

A blue electric vehicle, charging.

Electric vehicle (EV) deployment is ramping up across Minnesota. New data from 2019 (which you can explore in a previous blog post) shows that EV deployment hit new records throughout the state. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, the number of EV registrations in Minnesota has almost doubled. With declining vehicle costs, expanding EV infrastructure, and growing consumer preference for climate-friendly products, EV growth in Minnesota shows no signs of slowing down. The statewide EV map further helps spotlight that EVs are not only a phenomenon in urban areas. In fact, there is only one county of the 87 in the state that does not have at least one EV registered.
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Carbon Capture 101

December 17, 2019 in Carbon Management Authors: Dane McFarlane, Elizabeth Abramson, Jennifer Christensen

An upward view of an industrial facility

Carbon capture is an essential part of GPI’s work to achieve a zero-carbon energy system by midcentury. GPI engages a broad set of interests at the state and federal levels to increase the deployment of carbon capture projects and infrastructure. We developed a carbon capture 101 fact sheet (PDF and text below) as a starting point for learning about what carbon capture is and why it’s an important economic and environmental strategy.
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Approval of Xcel Energy’s Electric Vehicle Pilots Highlights Key Considerations for Electric Utilities

December 12, 2019 in Electricity, Transportation & Fuels Author: Trevor Drake

 An electric vehicle plug

Following a stakeholder engagement process facilitated by the Great Plains Institute in 2018, Xcel Energy received approval and is moving forward in Minnesota with new electric vehicle (EV) pilot programs.  

As investor-owned electric utilities seek to meet the needs of shareholders, consumers, and the environment, EVs offer a unique opportunity. If implemented carefully, utility investments in EV infrastructure and programs can provide a series of benefits, including new sources of utility revenue, better services for EV drivers, reduced costs for all consumers by making the electric system more efficient, and reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading »

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